Madrid beats Granada, Barcelona edges out Valencia

Associated Press Modified: September 2, 2012 at 5:32 pm •  Published: September 2, 2012
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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice before injuring his leg to steer Real Madrid to a 3-0 home win over Granada on Sunday, the defending champions' first victory after three rounds of the Spanish season.

Barcelona, meanwhile, edged out Valencia 1-0 thanks to Adriano's first-half screamer to remain perfect after three games and lead the standings.

Madrid displayed little of the attacking flair it unleashed to topple Barcelona in the Spanish Supercup earlier this week, but Ronaldo's first league goals this season proved more than enough against the modest talents of Granada.

Ronaldo scored in the 26th and 54th minutes before leaving the pitch grimacing and favoring his left leg following a tackle by Borja Gomez that cost the Granada defender a second booking.

The Portugal forward uncharacteristically did not celebrate his goals.

"I am sad and the club knows it, that's why I didn't celebrate the goals," Ronaldo said, adding that he was upset for "professional" reasons before refusing to elaborate.

With Granada down a man, Gonzalo Higuain scored in the 76th to seal the much-needed win. Madrid had only one point after the first two rounds. It trails Barcelona by five points.

"Ronaldo is an important player for us, he is our goal-scorer," Madrid defender Sergio Ramos said. "I hope he takes advantage of (this week's) international break and gets better soon."

Barcelona had the chance to decide the game after Adriano's goal, but Cesc Fabregas missed two clear chances and the hosts struggled to protect their slimmest of leads in the final minutes.

"The important thing is that we pulled out the win," said Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta, recently crowned UEFA's best player in Europe. "We could have increased the margin, above all in the first half. When you have chances you have to put them in because if not you suffer later."

One of the few bright spots for Barcelona was former Arsenal player Alex Song, who fit in seamlessly with his new team, not erring in passes and providing a defensive presence in midfield.

Also Sunday, Athletic Bilbao beat Valladolid 2-0 for the Basques first win of the season. Sevilla drew 0-0 at Rayo Vallecano, and 10-man Levante came from behind to win 3-2 against visiting Espanyol.

In his first start for Madrid since joining from Tottenham, Luka Modric looked eager to justify his €35 million ($44 million) price tag. The Croatia playmaker drew an early save from Antonio "Tono" Rodriguez and combined well with his new teammates.

Ronaldo got the defending champions going in the 26th when he slotted Jose Callejon's pass between Tono's legs from a tight angle.

But just like in the previous two matches against Valencia and Getafe, Madrid retreated after going in front, giving Granada a chance to come forward.

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